Friday, October 11, 2002

In order to maintain status as a scholar-blogger, one has to remain a scholar, by, y'know, getting tenure and stuff. September's blogging pace noticeably dented my productivity, so I'm easing off for now. Moreover, I'm travelling three out of four weeks in October. But I'll be back. In the meantime, have you noticed how much impressive stuff Mark Kleiman's been posting lately? Other new stuff: the replacement for Arts and Letters Daily, Philosophy and Literature; and my colleague Jean Elshtain's response to the "just war" petition. (I work at the coolest university-- in addition to having the whole Elshtain-to-Mearshimer-to-Khalidi range of opinions among the faculty, I've recently attended seminars with Michael Walzer talking about just and unjust interventions, and with Sari Nussbeih talking about the prospects for progress in Israel and Palestine.) I have nothing especially sophisticated or distinctively-well-informed to say about the elections, Jimmy Carter, the war, or anything else in the news this week. I'll start chattering again when I do-- or when something gets my gander enough to demand response despite not being especially sophisticated or well-informed.

One question before I go. Say that I had answered my old question about voting for marginal candidates or preferred parties in favor of the candidate-centered approach. But I couldn't simply support pro-choice Republicans or pro-trade Democrats without regard to their other views. There are thresholds to overcome. Can anyone name for me a candidate in a competitive race (or, really, any candidate) for either Senate or House who is a) pro-choice; b) pro-trade (supports NAFTA, TPA, and WTO without weaselly exceptions, hasn't been a force in favor of any of the dumb protectionist moves in the past few years); c) not-actively-antigay (sometimes one takes what one can get); d) generally in favor of tax cuts; e) generally in favor of spending restraint; f) generally pro-immigration; g) not guilty of demagoguing Social Security? I'd have a hard time supporting someone who suppported the campaign finance bill or a vigorous drug warrior. Supporting the death penalty is bad, but I'm willing to treat that as a litmus test for executive posts rather than legislative ones. And, obviously, actively pro-gay-rights (marriage, military) would be better than passive, and actively pro-Social Security reform would be better than passive. But I think I could stomach someone who met the named threshold tests; and I'd actively want to encourage that person's party (whichever party it was!) to move in that person's direction. But I can't think of a single such candidate from either major party...

Monday, October 07, 2002

Sure am glad I didn't give into the momentary temptation to send Forrester a check last week. Feh.
Andrew Sullivan writes "He's the first president who never had a majority of the popular vote." Huh? His predecessor never had such a majority. Neither did Woodrow Wilson or Harry Truman. W isn't even the first president to never win a plurality. Hayes lost the popular vote in 1876. So did Harrison in 1888.